Topic: Duco cement

After reading most of Matthew Morris's excellent treatise on Hugh Cooper's teaching methods I have a question regarding a statement that wasn't fully explained. It's on page 50 of the treatise and it's regarding Mr. Cooper's statement about the use of Duco  Cement.  He says that applying Duco to the wood surface of the blank has ruined many potentially good reeds. He says that he then would apply 3-4 coatings on the wrapping.  Can someone who has worked with Mr. Cooper explain his rational for this. Personally I've always put a coating of Duco on the wood before wrapping and think that there're a number of good reasons to do so. Likewise I've know many players who will only put several layers of glue without wrapping.  Next time I'll make reeds without putting glue on the wood and see if there's a difference.

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Re: Duco cement

Hi Jgaarder:

I am not a Cooper student so hopefully someone else can clarify, but when I read it I assumed the reason would be because when a rigid material is used on the wood it will stop more of the vibrations.  He also mentions that it is a mistake to tighten the first wire excessively--this, too, would prohibit vibrations.  Kent

“This one misguided procedure has ruined more potentially good reeds than any
other, except the equally calamitous mistake of tightening the first wire excessively.”

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Duco cement

Of course, all things are variable in reeds.  I know of one bassoonist, that when having a reed session with another bassoonist had one of her reeds looked at and he said: "well here's your first problem, your first wire isn't tight enough" and proceeded to strangle the life out of the reed.  She says "I never could get that reed to respond after that".  Of course, he is a well established bassoonist performer, teacher and a performing artist (you know what I mean), and plays on reeds that are just designed to play when the first wire is tight.  Her reeds were not meant to have a tight first wire.  I personally can't play on reeds made by either!

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: Duco cement

Right Trent.  And from what I have heard about Hugh Cooper's playing, he liked his reeds to resonate as much as possible.  So it makes sense that he would not want his 1st wire too tight.  Of course, if you want a different response or sound and your reed is designed differently, then a tight wire may be appropriate.  Kent

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Duco cement

Like everything else about reeds, there are endless opinions. If you refer to an excerpt from Norman Herzberg cited by Yoshi on page one of this topic, Mr. Herzberg was quite firm in calling for a tight first wire (and second as well). His primary reason was that a loose wire would not properly hold an adjustment of the tip opening. I now agree with this, having read that very critical excerpt and putting his approach to the test, where previously I also felt that the first wire should not be "too" tight. I find that increased resonance and response is best obtained through the selective scrape of the reed, not by keeping the wires loose.

Gene Carter, Owner
Linden Reeds

Re: Duco cement

And to add to what you say, Gene. . . David McGill does the opposite.  He likes his first wire to rock back and forth.  At least that is what he told me when I studied with him years ago.  If this has changed and anyone knows about it, please correct me.  Thanks, Kent

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Duco cement

I have to weigh in on the "firm" first wire rule. I used to play on reeds with loose first wires and Skinner did not believe in this. Herzberg is right. The opening will not stay and I found it far more work to play with a loose first wire. Dale Clark has also written about this in his articles about Mathew Ruggiero's teaching. To each his own.
Mayxm also believed that the first wire needed to be "firm" not tight. I agree.

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Re: Duco cement

Like all reed adjustments, it depends on what type of reed you are working on as to how tight the first wire must be to work properly.  Take the proper thickness at the heart of the reed.  That thickness and placement may vary if say one reed is 57mm long and another is 53mm.  Mr. Ruggiero stated not that the first wire always be as tight as possible but rather if E2 is flat try tightening the first wire.  Someone else might say they cut the tip instead but that is their choice if it works for them.

Dale Clark, DMA
Arkansas State University
Clark Bassoon Reeds

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Re: Duco cement

I didn't mean to imply that Ruggeiro wanted a tight wire but just a "firm" hold of the cane. I believe that Otto Eifert (a Skinner student) helped Mr. Ruggiero with his reeds when he was a student at Curtis with him.

Last edited by Vincent Ellin (2007-08-14 10:43:26)

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